Hasidic Song in a Strange Land: Ben Zion Shenker and the Nigun in America

For the Public
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

Zoom Webinar

When World War II displaced Hasidism from Europe, Hasidic music traveled with the exiles and escapees. In this talk, we will learn about this musical migration to New York by studying the life of R. Ben Zion Shenker as he went from musical secretary to the Modzitzer Rebbe to renowned composer.

About the Series "Songs without Words: Nigunim over Time"

Judaism has a musical tradition of tunes sung repetitively without words. These melodies, called nigunim, are as open to new interpretation as they are evocative of past worlds. This series of online lectures follows the winding paths of nigunim and their singers, from the earliest Hasidic Jews to contemporary professional musicians. They will bring to life musical worlds ranging from the synagogue to Spotify, showing how men and women have adapted the tradition for ritual, emotional expression, and art.


Gordon Dale

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion

Gordon Dale’s research centers on music as Jewish spiritual practice, with a focus on the American Hasidic community. He teaches cantorial students, serves as the Co-Executive Director of the Jewish Music Forum, and is an avid guitarist.

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Cosponsored by the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Klatt Family and the Harry Stern Family Foundation.